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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  July 12, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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and it will not surprise you, i don't think it's even a close call. >> president obama also reported a message before the vice president's speech. >> america where we're looking at the midwest and america where we're creating ladders for people who are willing to work hard to get into the middle class. that's my promise to you. >> joining us now from washington is "time" magazine white house correspondent, michael scherer, his latest piece is titled just a regular guy. in the midwest obama tries for small town -- your piece focuses on retail politicking. i want to talk a little bit about his chief emissary these days, joe biden and his performance at the naacp.
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there's been a lot of talk. >> i think it's what they like about biden. that was basically at a convention speech. it wasn't a speech just to a constituent group. biden loves that. he loves riling up big crowds like that especially friendly crowds. it's exactly where the campaign wants to put them. i don't think there's going to be many people at that convention feel slighted by the -- >> jonathan, i want to turn to you in terms of, you know, we've talked a lot about the african-american vote, the naacp, whether the president is taking for granted the naacp and the african-american community given the fact that he didn't show up. do you think that this sort of biden goes in, does his work, almost a sort of preacherly
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speech, if you will, that biden gave. do you think that sort of quashes this sort of chatter about his relationship to the black vote? >> well, look, everyone would like to have the president of the united states come and speak to their group, and the naacp, you know, is among them, but it's not like the president hasn't spoken to the naacp before. he's been there before. quite frankly, the speech that the vice president gave, you know, it was literally a table thumping speech that he gave, a red-meat speech if you will, and a speech that as we e were talking before in the greenroom, a campaign speech. he got that crowd riled up. he said things about mitt romney that you expect a vice president to say in campaign mode that you would expect whoever mitt romney picks as his number two to say about president obama. you want the vice president to take the hard shots at the nominee from the other party so that the president can take a step back and be the statesman. so i think -- i have to agree with michael. it was perfect to have vice president biden there today.
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>> very sharp contrast with the president's sort of video message which was acme video message from the president. you know, richard, you're a denison of the small shack known as the white house press room. and i was sort of surprised -- i won't use the word shocked -- that secretary jay carney didn't have a better answer. i'll play for our viewi ining audience at home for his response why the president was attending the naacp conference. >> i think this is a campaign issue. >> he spoke in 2009. >> it wasn't a campaign issue there. i think the nominee for the other party spoke, as somebody just mentioned. i don't know. i think you have to ask the campaign. i don't know about invitations and schedules, when it relates to the campaign. in this case. >> that's what we call carney asada. the man is getting grilled, slow roasted up there. but really -- >> that's the worst dodge, by the way, for a press secretary.
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there's only one worse referral which is to the secret service which never answers any phone calls. i refer you to secret service on that one. you never get a phone call returned. ari fletcher had a line, we'll announce something when it's announce bl. words that don't say anything. they're filling out the time. poor jay carney. he should have had it prepared. i remember the time, it wasn't that long ago, that the classes were obsessed with the idea this president as a candidate wasn't black enough then he was too black. >> right. >> his relationship with african-american voters is fascinating. and it's also at the same time overwrought and in terms of coverage and, frankly, how much more can you say about it? he's got 95% approval. he doesn't need to do this. he does need to do certain other things just on his campaign schedule. so my guess is the honest jay carney answer is there are 20 other things that he can do now and the naacp will be there for
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him and he knows that and they know that. >> part of that unspoken logic is that the president needs to better connect with white working class voters who are not at the naacp which brings us to michael's piece. michael, you talk about the president on the campaign trail, and the certain patterns have developed in the way that he talks to certain voters. i thought that was really interesting. when meeting elderly couples, when asked for a secret, the secret to a long lasting marriage, he delivers the punch line to men saying, just do whatever she tells you to. when he sees groups of locals sitting together, he calls them troublemakers. when he sees young voters, he starts talking about sports. tell us a little about that. >> i had a great two days with him late last week when he went to ohio and pennsylvania and got to be in the pool for one of those days. you really get to see him up close. what's remarkable about this, he's not just doing one ice cream stop or one hot dog. he was doing three or four of these every day. the campaign is trying to make
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this contrast with mitt romney. it's in the stump speech. the president will talk about his trips to howard johnston's and his joy of using the ice machine and greyhound bus rides as a kid as a clear way with contrasting himself, mitt romney at that time up in new hampshire on his boat at his lake house. in all these interactions, the president is really trying to drive home the idea that he can connect with voters in a way that romney can't. and in practice, all politicians do this. you watch them long enough and they have to say, hey, how are you doing, what's your name, how old are you enough times. they have little shorthand for doing it. they have go-to jokes. and over the course of those two days, the president was using a few of them. >> as someone with a lot of my own go-to jokes, i'm not one to talk. the question is whether mitt romney has gotten better at this. earlier in the campaign cycle "the new york times" had a great story talking about mitt romney on the trail, introducing himself to voters and doing weird, uncomfortable things like
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trying to guess their age and ethnicity and failing miserably at it. >> or faking some woman had grabbed -- >> or congratulating him on weer weird things. >> i want to get your grade, if you will, on how he has either improved or not improved. >> nice to see you. you can't vote yet, but some day you will. you know her? >> a little bit. >> coach or the mom? >> the mom. >> the mom. maybe a bit of both, all right? good luck to you. take care. not a good summer, though. >> are you a jets fan? good to see you. who's going to start this year? >> sports, moms, kids. he seems to be improving. what do you guys make of it? >> coaching, i think. with romney you can only grade him pass fail on some like this. he's a notoriously bad in person campaigner. i got to see this up in new
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hampshire. dana milbank of "washington post" wrote a brutally accurate portrait of who a terrible campaigner he is up close. a guy beamed in from another planet and doesn't know what's going on. the video shows he got better at that. talked about sports or sport as mitt romney calls it. he's never going to be the natural campaigner the president is. >> it's not just the campaigner. i remember an article talking about elelegislators in his hom state, he worked with them for years and didn't know their name. took the back elevator to his office. he's not a man to glad hand and wander amongst the people and it's not going to get different between now and election day. >> oh, mitt. michael scherer, we look forward to more scoops from the ice cream beat. i thought about that before i said it. thanks for your time, my friend. everybody should check out your story in the latest issue of "time." coming up, dick cheney hosts
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a wyoming swor ray for mitt romney. we'll talk about the coming together of the two tribes next on "now." [ male announcer ] you sprayed them. thought they were dead. huh? [ male announcer ] should've used roundup. it kills weeds to the root, so they don't come back. roundup. no root. no weed. no problem.
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this week, governor romney has been jetting to vacation spots of the rich and powerful. on sunday, he attended three fund-raisers in the hamptons. monday he courted donors in aspen, the median home price, $2.6 million, and yesterday he raised money with charles schwab in hamilton, montana. tonight, however, he is entering the innermost circle of republican power. attending a fund-raiser hosted
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by none other than former vice president dick cheney. the events take place at an upscale country club then at the vp's home just outside jackson hole, wyoming. richard, a lot of speculation about the joining of these two tribes. thus far, we have not seen a lot of cross pollination between the bush/cheney administration and the romney team, although ed gillespie, glenn hubbard, stu stevens had lower level positions during the previous administration, or bush administration. what do you make of the dick cheney connection at this point? >> for sure, i'm sure his home is where you can say sport. you might have to duck. there is no single bush/cheney group. i don't just mean that in sort of legalistic terms. there was a falling out between these two camps in the second bush term and some of the cheney circle is most definitely
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present and very active in the romney circle especially on foreign policy. when you have someone like john bolten as a serious voice and dan seanor, you're plugging into a neocon, for want of a better term, a neocon view, which the bush folks themselves backed off of in the second term. there's a resurgence there. there are people like ed gillespie and karl rove looking for redemption, vindication. there's part of that happening, too. but, you know, when it comes down to this stage and these kinds of events, mitt romney is in his comfort zone. he's happy with these people. he loves the raising money. he's good at it. and that's a long way from what most of us and certainly most people watching this show would understand as campaigning for president. it's a sad fact of life but that's what candidates have to do and actually mitt romney's supremely good at it. >> at a fund-raiser in hamilton, montana, yesterday, mitt romney said, "this is not the party of the rich. this is a party who wants to
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help people become rich. and we care about the poor. we want to help the poor, but we also want to help people from becoming poor and we know how to do that." josh? >> that would sound more convincing coming from somebody else, because the fact that romney is, he's not very good about being rich. he had these fund-raisers in the hamptons with the ferraris and bentleys, arrogant entitled people waiting -- >> the gold mercedes. >> right. that was a scene from a tom wolf novel. the problem with romney being a rich guy, unlike the bushes, for instance, george h.w. bush, there was that sense, with w. there was the idea he's a friendly guy. romney is distant, and with the bain attacks he's the uncaring rich guy. he had the gaffe about how he didn't care about poor people. it's hard to come back now and try to claim you're here running for president on behalf of the downtrodden. >> what's also interesting, i think, is the notion that mitt romney is sort of playing this
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card, i think, i think, that he can be a sort of cipher until -- he can be sort of the vanilla alternative to a president who's wrecked the economy in the mind of the romney campaign. but, in fact, they are playing defense at this point. >> even the "wall street journal" is calling him out on these sorts of things. he and his own people certainly say, look, the voters tolerate that for so long and some point you have to fill in the blanks. i think he's moving from the vacuous state to getting in trouble if he doesn't start stepping up to the plate with definitive policies. >> i was shocked, speaking of with the the wall street journal" they had an intense analysis of the know toe photo romney saying, how did it come to pass that in this particular fourth of july week, amid a presidential election, the memory mitt romney allowed to imprint is an associated press photo of himself looking fabulous on a jet ski driven by
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his fabulous looking wife. the guy on the jet ski photo is the man they don't want to vote for, not amid the current anxiety. >> the other picture they thought should have been more of from mitt romney, he describe d it as a middle class dad on the beach surrounded by his grandkids and wife. you look at the two pictures -- that's not the picture. other picture -- >> fabulous landscape. >> i have to disagree with daniel because you know what, it's the fourth of july. running for president is tough. if he's going to take a vacation, let it be then and then let him get on with the business of running for president. >> he can do that fine. you have to do your vacation and leisure time away from the cameras in this context. and the problem is, in 2008 -- >> john kerry, wind surfing. >> in 2008, he actually taped an ad, i believe, if i'm right in recalling of his jogging.
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this the sign of a candidate like john kerry who thinks this is cool. they actually believe this is attractive because it makes them feel young. john kerry went out there wind surfing because he thought it was cool. it made him look young and whatever he wanted to project. actually what everyone else sees is someone out of touch and doing something ridiculous and something they can never aspire to. it's not just a single jet ski, it's a double jet ski. >> word to president obama, not scuba diving but snorkeling when he's in hawaii. coming up next, liar, liar, ads on fire. we'll take a look at the latest finger pointing in the presidential ad wars, next. why let constipation slow you down?
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the choice on taxes. mitt romney's plan, a 25% tax
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cut for millionaires. tax breaks for oil companies and corporations that ship jobs overseas but a tax hike for 18 million working families. president obama's plan, ask the wealthy to pay a little more so the middle class pays less. eliminate oil subsidies and tax breaks for companies that outsource. two plans, your choice. >> that's a new ad from president obama's campaign airing in nine swing states. continuing the focus on tax fairness. it is impressive, josh, i think, the way the narrative has really -- they have, the white house with the obama re-election campaign shifted the narrative to tax fairness and the subset of that is mitt romney's questionable tax practices, if you will. >> yeah. there's two components here. one obviously is the power of the bully pulpit and ability when you're president to say something and set the agenda. the other factor here is romney has been pretty terrible at defending this stuff. and he must have known that this was coming. the thrust of a lot of his
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defenses has not been, hey, look, they're mischaracterizing my record, what i did at bain was good and admirable and necessary for capitalism, something you as voters should want in the white house. it's been, oh, no, no, no, i left to do the olympics, i left in 1999 and these terrible things happened in 2000 and we have new documents, new big "boston globe" arguments saying, no, in fact, he was ceo on into the early 2000s. he's a mess. >> the ad the romney campaign put out this morning is very much in defense of that. let's take a look at that. >> when a president doesn't tell the truth, how can we trust him to lead? the obama outsourcing attacks, misleading, unfair, and untrue. there was no evidence that mitt romney shipped job s overseas. >> a great point is made in "the new york times," he says "the president and his re-election campaign managed to turn the focus of the race in recent days to mitt romney's bank accounts. almost everything except the weak job creation figures
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released last week. that stirred worries among republicans mr. romney is allowing himself to be defined by the obama forces and lacks the powerful counterpunch the base of the republican party is craving." >> it's going to be tough to make the counterpunch. mitch mcconnell came out and finally admitted, the bush strategy to cut all these taxes didn't create jobs, didn't create growth, yet we want to try this all again. to come back, that's why far of this vacuous empty slate is they are proposing policies that have been demonstrably failures for decades now and to re -- he talked -- yesterday, the day before saying, bill clinton cut taxes and all of these fallacious statements and there is no there, there. so he's in trouble unless he can shift the conversation back to inadequacies on the part of the obama administration. i don't think they have policies. you just had, what was it, cbo coming forward going, we're paying the lowest taxes in the last 30 years. >> the last 30 years. >> yet he continues to say these
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statements. the tax increases and the regulatory problems. it's -- there's no there, there. i'm waiting for him to try and flesh that out then defend it because he's going to be in trouble. >> it also doesn't help to have senators like lindsey graham say to "the huffington post" like he did yesterday, gaming the system is what it's all about, all americans cheat on their taxes. that doesn't help the broader argument that we need a fairer tax code. >> even if people do think that's fair which is debatable, those tools aren't open to everyone. what does it mean when you're also having to defend how you file things at the s.e.c.? was that gaming the s.e.c. in some way? you know, these are things you just don't want to have to deal with. what's interesting about these two ads is in technical terms they're both hybrids. they're both trying to mix offense and defense in some way. or negative and positive in terms of how the ad makers will do them. what the romney ad shows you is that this stuff is hurting them.
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so they're trying to make it an attack ad but really it's all defense. it's all pain for them. the obama ad is landing another attack and trying to tuck in a positive message behind it. my plan, here's the happy music, everyone's going to be great. the focus goes soft. >> and if you listen to, i mean, if karl rove's sort of focus groups are right, americans don't like -- don't not like the president. this kind of sort of character -- i'm not calling it character assassination, but a character attack. he's a liar, he hasn't been truthful with the american public. i don't know how that sticks. >> this is why they didn't want to go negative and call barack obama a liar because if you don't have a positive public self-image, negative attacks are less effective. right now a lot of people are making up their mind about mitt romney, don't necessarily like him. it's not going to make them like him more to call the president a liar. >> one thing i want to jump on that you said, that i want to amplify here, why wasn't the
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romney campaign ready for the outsourcing question, ready for the taxes question, ready for the bain questions? you knew they were coming. where was the defense when the questions came? >> why are they still not ready? >> yeah. >> call us. coming up, buried treasure in the caymans, bermuda and even switzerland. "vanity fair's" nicholas shacton walks us through his new piece. that's next on "now." this is new york state. we built the first railway, the first trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business.
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the obama campaign isn't giving up on its narrative that governor romney is a secretive rich guy. their latest ammunition comes from recent reports about the presumptive republican nominee's collection of offshore bank accounts. romney says all of his investments follow the law. in the latest issue of "vanity
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fair" nicholas shaxson writes, "romney like the superhero who whirls and back flips unscathed through a web of laser beams while everybody else gets zapped is a financial acrobat. careful analysis of his financial abusiness affair also reveals a man who like other wall street titans seems comfortable striding into some fuzzy gray zones." joining us from zurich, switzerland, nicholas shaxson who wrote "where the money is. "great to see you. >> hi, great to talk to you. >> nicholas, the first thing i want to start off with it the notion of blind trust. the romney campaign said over and over again, they've followed the letter of the law, he has no idea what's in them. in your story you say there are close romney associates and perhaps family members involved in the so-called blind trusts. >> yeah, that's right. there are kind of two aspects about the blind trust. the idea of a blind trust is a
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politician puts their assets into the blind trust to be managed at arm's length by an independent trustee so the candidate knows nothing about what's in there and there's no kind of conflict of interest or anything like that. but there are two aspects. one is the trustee, the person who's managing the blind trust, bradford is a longstanding close associate of mitt romney and that already raises a question. also the fact as you mentioned some of the things in the blind trust. you look at, for example, there are associates which is co-founded by his own son, his eldest son, and a key campaign official. there are elliot associates which is run by paul singer who "fortune" magazine described him as the hedge fund king maker. how independent is that if you're getting such close allies, their funds being put
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into your blind trust? >> nick, you know, you make a point of highlighting this notion of the gray area. while this stuff may not be illegal, it is certainly not necessarily the stuff you want the potential future president of the united states to be engaged in. you have a very, i thought, compelling growth from democratic lawyer joseph sandler who says "the law is the law. romney says, you know, they won't tell me as in the blind trust. when you run for office in the u.s. and are not prepared to comply with disclosure requirements, divest yourself of the assets or don't run. the "washington post" summarized opinions of experts across the political spectrum by saying romney's disclosures are, quote, the most opaque they have encountered." that's a pretty big statement from the "washington post." >> yeah, that's a pretty intense statement and for sure there's a lot of secrecy. you know, i'm surprised after my article has come out and other people have reported, you know, related things about it, still has been no explanation.
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i mean, there's an entity of bermuda corporation in there which i talk about in my article and the "associated press" record reported about subsequently. there are lots of questions about that corporation. it appears to not have a lot of assets at the moment. it would be very valuable, it could be out a lot of money. but there has -- and mitt romney has treated it very carefully indeed. bradford, the same trustee, the president of the that company, and transferred it into his wife's blind trust the day before he was inaugurated as governor of massachusetts. but there's been no, you know, this news is now out, but there's been no response as far as i know from the romney campaign explaining this saying, okay, this is just some old thing that doesn't mean anything. it's just been kind of a wall of, you know, denial. it raises a lot of questions. there are many other questions. there are many questions talking about these gray areas that are not in my article that i
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couldn't fit in my article, that i could have equally written about that, you know, raise similar questions. >> one of those other red flags that was in your article, i thought in terms of not an indictment but certainly a huge question mark as far as mitt romney's financial behavior was the notion of offshore tax havens and private equity being sort of -- using offshore tax havens to sort of if not white wash, i think shroud foreign money entering the united states and you seem to suggest that one of mitt romney's 1984 bain filings had investments from dubious characters, robert maxwell, eduardo pomo, a member of one of the families that sort of ruled the el salvadorian financial world. the notion that mitt romney may have been in bed with some not so savory characters to help them get money into the united states is, again, i think a real revelation as far as character when it comes to how he's conducted himself on a fiduciary
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level. >> yeah. aside from robert maxwell, i wasn't making any particular comments about how unsavory those particular investors were. really my point was that the investors, so you had some -- you get a list in this filing of, you know, who's investing in the fund and some of them are named people. a lot of bain capital people, bain and co-people. there are also these kind of mysterious, you know, there's a geneva trustee, panama corporations. there are trusts. these are, for any tax authority around the world, these are big red flags. camp panama, i describe in the article, a u.s. customs official calling it one of the filthiest money laundering sinks in the world. this is not -- we're not talking here about u.s. investors breaking u.s. tax -- we are talking about foreigners cloaking their money in these offshore structures and the money coming in. and that just raises an awful lot of questions.
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you know, did those investors break their own country tax laws? are they committing tax evasion in those countries? el salvador was certainly one of the countries where a lot of those investors were coming from. you know, that was a country torn apart by class warfare and military conflict. you know, this kind of thing about tax evasion can, you know, is sort of a symptom of the kind of impunity of the elite of these countries. it raises a very sort of nasty set of questions about, you know, was that a vehicle for foreign tax evading money? there's been a lot of that, you know, not just with bain capital. many companies. bain capital is not required by u.s. law to check, to enforce the tax laws of other countries, but were they a vehicle for it? we don't have an answer but we do have red flags there. >> nick, the last thing i wanted to ask you, you mentioned the term wall of obfuscation, vis-a-vis the romney response. you asked more detailed and
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pointed questions i think we've seen in reporting thus far vis-a-vis mitt romney's investments. did you get the sense there is discomfort within the campaign? is there a sense of turmoil or anxiety about these questions? are we going to learn more? t in the coming months and weeks ahead? >> it's hard for me to assess the extent of whether these questions are causing turmoil. clearly at the moment they're on the defensive as a result of there has been a kind of surge in interest in his, you know, secretive way of going about his finances and holding things close to his chest. clearly a lot of consternation there. it's hard for me to assess how much of that is going on inside the romney camp. they'll certainly be asking themselves some serious questions. perhaps more revelations will come out in the weeks and months to come. you know, i just don't think he's doing himself any favors by not answering the questions, straight questions put to the campaign and the answer comes back, well, you know, we're not
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really going to tell you. >> nick, you also have one of my favorite quotes thus far about mitt romney's finances. you quote washington lawyer jack blum who says "what romney does not get is this stuff is weird." indeed, sir, it is weird. nicholas shaxson, thank you for your time and excellent reporting. >> thanks. good to talk to you. thank you. coming up, inching toward the cliff and not doing much about it. why congress is a lot like wiley coyote. that's next on "now."
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i think if i had to tell you of a probability, i'd say the chances are we're going over a fiscal cliff, and i hate to say it, but i think that's probably right. but we worked hard to try to get common sense to overrule politics and that's a tough thing in washington. >> that was erskine bowles,
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former chief of staff to president clinton with an ominous prediction for this year. the market opened down this morning. economists cautioned it may just be a burst in seasonal hiring. josh, the question, i mean, the question "a" of course is whether we're going to be going over a fiscal cliff, just a daunting prospect at best. and if we don't, who will get blamed for taking us right to the edge of the cliff? >> well, bowles, first of all, let's remember, is a professional doom mongerer. >> doom mongerer? >> no disrespect, but he and simpson and other people who have been out there kind of being the lead doom mongerers to draw attention to this which is a useful service. one, going over the fiscal cliff isn't wiley coyote going over a cliff where you go straight down. it's more of a slope. other than the possible expiration of the debt limit -- i don't want to geek out too much here. these cuts hit gradually over time. if it were to go a week, two
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weeks, maybe even a month past january 1st, it wouldn't be the end of the world. the real problem, though, is that we're about to run up, hit the debt limit sometime around january 1st and then you're right back where we were last fall when we know from that experience that voters blame everybody in power. the president whose numbers dropped, in congress whose numbers dropped even further. >> go ahead, john. >> it might be a slope but what about the impact that all the machinations in washington have on the markets and confidence? doesn't that turn that slope more into -- more from a slope to a plunge? not to do the robot here. >> a lot of it will depend on -- >> how fast is wiley coyote falling? the question is also, look, yesterday as we all know the house republicans voted to repeal the affordable care act for the 33rd time. john boehner said this morning, we're not going to pass a 2,700 page bill nobody ever read, not pass a bill and hope people find
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out what's in it after we pass it nor are we going to raise taxes on the american peel. i don't know. ari melber who did math yesterday said 1 out of every 40 bills the house has taken up is to repeal the affordable care act. >> there was an article, this morning or yesterday, when they calculate what it costs to run the house of representatives. $50 million. the 32, 33 efforts to repeal, you know, quantify, it's $50 million of taxpayers' money to go through what they knew was a futile exercise from the start. the situation here is, people need to understand that any increase above $250,000 on these people, your first $250,000 stays just the same. you're fine. when they keep screaming small businesses, the republican party is not telling the american people, they're talking about anyone who has 500 or fewer employees. big businesses. the repercussions on the middle class by maintaining the tax cuts and increasing on those
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whose net revenues are plus-$250,000 is minimal. this is a political exercise and somebody needs to call them on this big-time. >> we know the president was meeting with democratic leadership in congress yesterday. richard, there have been dueling prescriptions for expiration of the bush tax cuts which i think is not the best in terms of messaging. nancy pelosi and chuck schumer had their own plan that would extend them for making under $1 million a year. certainly one of the problems with taking a vote on the bush tax cut right now is not all the democrats are going to be in line. do you think the president through outreach, cajoling or arm twisting could get everybody on to the same page which is his page? >> at the moment, no. you're talking about a difference in messaging when you're talking about $250,000 or $1 million. as opposed to politics plus an eye on the deficit and how much money you want to raise through these kinds of taxes. in the end, i don't think -- whatever happens through november is going to be a bigger
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argument than the level of these bush tax cuts. and besides that, we're not going to go over the fiscal cliff. there is too much horse trading that will happen. the debt limit is vital. right? they cannot bust through the bust limit, we're in default. to get the debt limit raised again, they're going to have -- the democrats, if it is, indeed, them, who are doing the negotiating -- will have to hand over something such as avoiding the deep defense cuts and then you're into a battle over what are the give and takes on the bush tax cuts? all that stuff expires at the end of the year. all of it comes due then. do you as a re-elected president, a new president, as a new congress want to waste the first couple months of the new year doing this or try to get rid of it? >> and deal with the repercussions retroactively which has been floated out there. we shall she, wiley coyote, if he falls, whether he falls at all, if it's a gentle slope. not a good cartoon if it's a
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gentle slope. coming up, total disregard. former direct of the fbi releases a new report finding penn state officials concealed facts in the jerry sandusky sex abuse case. we'll get a live report with details next.
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the report on the penn state abuse scandal found four key university officials including former football coach joe paterno at fault for failing to protect the children who were victimized by jerry sandusky. nbc's ron allen is live in state college, pennsylvania, with the latest. ron? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. i think people here are starting to digest this report and come to grips with it, to be honest with you, throughout the months that this has been going on. there's been a sense of denial, a sense of circling the wagons if you will. a lot of people were fiercely protective of the legacy and memory of the late coach joe
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paterno. but this report clearly says that joe paterno is at fault here. that he -- he and three others, graham spanier, former president, the director and secretary, vice president of finance, clearly did things that were meant to cover up and hide and conceal what jerry sandusky was doing. and freeh's opinion knew about this as far back as 1998. the concern always was about the university. about bad publicity. about the reputation and not about the children. he pointed out at no point during the process did any of the men confront sandusky or find out who any of the kids were. welfare, the safety, the security of what was going on. just a very damning, damning report. >> nbc's ron allen. thank you for the latest. i want to open this up to our panel. the investigation took eight months, 400 interviews and reviewed 3.5 million documents. i'll read the statement from the paterno family.
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"joe paterno wasn't perfect. he made mistakes and regretted them. he's the only leader to step forward and say with the benefit of hindsight and wish he would have done more. if joe paterno understood what sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions." >> i understand the family saying that. the evidence does not support that position. all of the officials including paterno did what is not uncommon. having chased cases for many years in the legal profession and that is university comes first. you cover this stuff up. if you could handle it internally, you do. if you avoid it, you do. there is nothing to demonstrate they practiced any other tactic than that. >> institutions protect themselves. whenever there's any kind of trouble, no matter how great you are, in terms of the manner of the institution, once you're in trouble, the institution finds a way to protect itself and the paterno case seems to be part of
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a larger thing that's been happening, certainly within the last five to ten years of a failure of institutions to people. you know, we saw it, you know, whether it's the church, whether it's the financial system, wherever people have put their faith and trust, they've been let down. and for the folks at penn and who believed in joe paterno and believed in sandusky, to find out they were involved in something so horrible, to say that it's crushing i think doesn't begin to characterize what they must be feeling and thinking. >> yeah. the institutional failure piece is the lasting legacy of this. the human toll not to be underestimated. as we talk about the church, whether it's the church, whether it's college is, whether financl institutions, something we will continue to talk about in the coming weeks and months and years. that is all for us. thanks again to josh, catherine,
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jonathan and richard. that's all for "now." i'll see you back here tomorrow when i'm joined by ed rendell, jay carol lee and the always buzzy ben smith with buzz feed. follow us on twitter @alex. coming up, we have dynamic duo. i don't mean batman and robin. we have carville and greenberg about their new book and the democratic campaign, of course. and joe biden fires up the naacp. and the bain of our existence. all the fact checking. we'll check the fact checkers with steve radnor right here. plus inside scientology with kate snow. next on "andrea mitchell reports."
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